Following Nat Hunters blog, ‘Finding out what Makers really want’, we have spent the last few weeks picking apart all the drawings, diagrams and questions from the our first co-design session down at Makerversity and have begun to flesh out what a digital maker network might look like with a basic prototype.
Last week we once again took over Makerversity to present our prototype to 40 Makers, aged 16 – 50, to get feedback, input and ideas. There was a fantastic mix of people in the room – we were joined by a diverse range of Makers, manufacturers, educators and designers, including students from the RSA Academy in Tipton and several RSA Student Design Award alumni.
Once again the session was facilitated by Tom and Dan from Swarm, whose engaging rapid prototyping exercises (including the rather weird and wonderful ‘recreating the internet in a room using post its’) encouraged everyone to contribute ideas and feedback, which will prove invaluable as we take our prototype to the next stage of development.
One of the most inspiring things about the day was watching everyone working so fantastically well together, sharing ideas and experiences despite age, background or professional practise. Gary England, DT Teacher from St Johns Academy in Marlborough who attended both sessions with 6 of his A and AS Level Students agreed. “The fact that everyone was equal really appealed to the students and they can see that they are playing a vital role in the platforms development... Its not like the decisions were made for them. I think that one of their main thoughts before the day was how it could look on a CV or in their personal statement, but will now have a real interest in the project.”
These two sessions have cemented a couple of things in our minds as we take this project forward:
One is that the idea of a ‘platform’ for Makers of all levels to connect is both wanted and needed. We are now looking to further develop our prototype and secure funding to roll this out on a larger scale.
The second is that this collaborative way of working and designing was hugely successful. Not only do we have new and innovative ideas from all our participants, but we also have the support and backing from 40 of our target audience from the very start of this project.
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